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Content Editor Job Description: Examples from Selfridges and Newcastle University

Published 31st March 2021 9 minute read
We analyse the details of Selfridges and Newcastle University to figure out how to write a high quality content editor job description.
Content Editor Job Description

Introduction

Content job descriptions: nobody said they would be easy.

Job descriptions are hard to get right because you need to get a balance between what the company needs, and what the candidate wants.

You need to be detailed, but snappy and engaging to entice readers for long enough so they get to the end and hit apply. As well as ensuring you have a sincere approach to diversity and inclusion weaved into the job description.

In this article we deconstruct Content Editor job descriptions from two well-known organisations, and we've created a free template for you to build on when creating your own.

To give you an understanding of the Content Editor role, we'll define it first.

Then we'll see what job descriptions from Selfridges and Newcastle University look for in candidates.

Things like:

  • What they offer in terms of salaries
  • Key responsibilities
  • Qualifications and skills
  • Benefits, workplace experience and culture
  • Diversity and inclusion statements

We've also included some comparative analysis of the two job descriptions to give you deeper insights into the role.

What is a content editor?

A content editor will be tasked with writing content (usually online content) such as blog posts and marketing copy, editing and proofreading, restructuring and reworking content into different formats, and updating website and social media pages. They will be expected to generate fresh, original ideas, have some knowledge of SEO, and report on web traffic and user engagement.

What to include: Examples from Selfridges and Newcastle University

Now let's break down two examples of job descriptions from Selfridges and Newcastle University. We'll cover all the key parts, so you can gain a broad understanding of what to include in your job description.

Salary

Showing the salary is one of the most important things to include in your job description. When you don't, you're at risk of being exclusive and widening pay gaps. This is because it sets up a relationship of difficult pay conversations, and may put people off negotiating.

It's also regarded as a red flag and a "waste of time" for many candidates if you don't, as Show the Pay have highlighted.

Show The Pay website screenshot
Show The Pay website

Side note: All content editor jobs that share pay details on our site are highlighted by a green dollar symbol to bring attention to this.

Newcastle University show their salary range at the top of the job description. And Selfridges show some salary information in a box, along with the job category, contract type, closing date and location.

However, Selfridges only state that it is "Competitive plus bonus and benefits." This isn't helpful for the candidate, as it is vague and doesn't give them anything to negotiate on.

The Newcastle University role is in Newcastle upon Tyne, UK, and seems to be an entry level role into content strategy, with mid-senior level writing experience needed. The Selfridges role is in London, and the pay is expected to be on the higher end, as it's a Deputy/Senior role, and as is indicated by the responsibilities and expectations.

While the data is sketchy, we have used LinkedIn, PayScale and Glassdoor to find out averages for a Content Editor role where we can:

Content Editor Salary
UK Average Average: £26,000/yr, range: £19k - £40k
London Average Average: £28,000/yr, range: £21k - £42k
Selfridges No data available for Content Editor role
Newcastle Average £45,877/yr
Newcastle University £25,941 - £27,511 per annum

Typical responsibilities

Here is a quick-reference table of typical responsibilities and criteria for the role of Content Editor so you can make sure you are hitting the right marks.

We've categorised them into key areas, and you can see which have been included from Newcastle University and Selfridges, and what they ask for.

Responsibilities Selfridges Newcastle University
Reporting to Digital Content Editor Web Design Team, Head of Marketing and the Head of Marketing Web Services
Copywriting and SEO - creation, proofreading and sub-editing large volumes of content to a high standard in the right style and tone of voice
Planning, creating, editing and publishing content for different formats / multimedia / digital channels and platforms
Content design and visual design
Conducting and applying user research to digital design
Information architecture for user journeys and wireframes for content
Maintaining best practice and developing online content standards, compliance, voice and tone, style guides
Optimising content
Managing business KPIs and aligning content with organisational goals and objectives
Thinking about user experience and usability, accessibility, writing for the web, and meeting user needs with content
Ensure timelines are managed effectively and consistently with all given projects and content workflows
Ensure that new launches are executed within a timely manner and to an impeccable standard online
Testing and approving content, quality assurance
Analytics and reporting on content effectiveness
People management - support recruitment, supervise, train and mentor team members
Working collaboratively with Digital, Web, Product, Creative and Marketing teams
Stakeholder management and relationship building - internally and externally

Qualifications, skills and attributes

Now onto skills and qualifications. Here we've checked off and crossed which job descriptions ask for what. We've added details such as how many years' experience where the data is available.

Qualifications, skills and attributes Selfridges Newcastle University
Experience 5+ years of experience writing, sub-editing and managing a team in a mid-to large-sized company 2-4 years experience in a similar content management/digital production role for a global website
Bachelor's Degree ✅ Minimum Bachelor's Degree in English, Journalism or a writing-related field
Educated to Master's level or with equivalent professional qualifications and experience ✅ (Preferred)
Significant experience of the Adobe Creative Suite
Knowledge of Content Management Systems and other digital publishing platforms
Eye for detail
Creative problem solving
Ability to multi-task and juggle several workloads
Excellent planning and organisation skills
Strong interpersonal skills, team building and collaboration
Communicate with, lead, engage, inspire, motivate and influence team members
Working well under pressure in a fast-paced digital environment
Go above and beyond to meet deadlines
Proven track record of projects from concept to completion

Benefits

Next on to benefits. Here we have put together a list of typical benefits, and checked which are offered in each job description.

This isn't an exhaustive list, and not all company benefits were included in the job descriptions. So we have also used Glassdoor, and the Newcastle University Staff Benefits page to give you a more comprehensive view.

Benefits Selfridges Newcastle University
Medical / dental / vision benefits
Pension ✅ With contribution ✅ Salary sacrifice arrangement for pension contributions
Performance bonus
Childcare vouchers
Cycle to work scheme
Season ticket loan / travel pass
Discounts including things like shops, restaurants, gym etc
Training and career development
Sick pay
Paid paternity, adoption and maternity leave
Flexible working (which may include part-time hours, job shares, flexible hours and part-remote set ups)
Annual leave / paid time off

Diversity and inclusion

Diversity and inclusion should be a key part of your job description. This is both through the use of a diversity and inclusion statement, as well as generally showing that you are committed to the issue but using non-gendered language, and being mindful of language in general.

As well as the need to comply with things like reasonable adjustments / accomodations for disability throughout the candidate selection process, it's important you make adverts easy to read and understand for everyone. This means things like defining any acronyms you use, and not using overly complex language.

Selfridges

Surprisingly, there isn't a diversity and inclusion statement in the Selfridges job description. Although we found articles on their diverse talent, and initiatives such as their diversity board set up in 2020 through a Google search, we haven't been able to find a strong statement on their website or online either.

It is so important to put them in! Even if your organisation is actively striving for diversity and this is clear by other public initiatives. Leaving it out of your job description might put some candidates off applying, or make it difficult for them to ask for additional resources, or changes to the process to accommodate their needs.

Forbes Selfridges article screenshot
Forbes article about Selfridges

Newcastle University

Newcastle University's statement is a good one, and reads:

"Newcastle University is committed to being a fully inclusive Global University which actively recruits, supports and retains staff from all sectors of society. We value diversity as well as celebrate, support and thrive on the contributions of all our employees and the communities they represent.

We are proud to be an equal opportunities employer and encourage applications from everybody, regardless of race, sex, ethnicity, religion, nationality, sexual orientation, age, disability, gender identity, marital status/civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, as well as being open to flexible working practices."

It's nice to see they have included pregnancy and maternity. As well as things like flexible working practices, which would potentially count as a reasonable adjustment or accommodation.

Newcastle University Diversity page screenshot
Newcastle University's Equality, Diversity and Inclusion page

Highlights: comparing and analysis to inspire your job description

As we've already seen from the checklists, the two roles are in many ways quite similar in terms of what they ask for, and what they offer. But at the same time, they are different.

In this section we've chosen some key parts from the two job descriptions, and have done a bit of deeper comparative analysis. This should help you gain an even better sense of what the role of Content Editor entails, and what companies ask for. We've also included links to docs with the full adverts if this is helpful.

Selfridges

Content Editor

Selfridges have a very clear sense of who they are looking for in this job description, which is well-written and detailed. They are big on personality and candidate attributes. They are looking for somebody who can

"demonstrate relentlessly high standards, fostering passion, creativity, integrity and energy."

Alongside strong interpersonal skills, including collaborating and team building practices, the people-management side of the role shouldn't be overlooked in this one.

For the role responsibilities section, they kick off with:

"Reporting directly into the Digital Content Editor, the Selfridges Deputy Content Editor will support the management of a team of product copywriters and Product Technical Specialists; responsible for producing and publishing content to the brand's online platform."

The candidate will:

"Support the Content Editor on all day-to-day running of the content team, including people management, freelance management and budgets – in-line with company expectations."

Other parts that talk about people management and influencing stakeholders which we have grouped together and listed are:

  • "Supervise, train and mentor team members"
  • "Give one-on-one training and editing feedback to team members and freelancers alike.
  • "Lead, inspire, engage and motivate a team of copywriters and product technical specialists."
  • "Complete annual performance reviews for individual team members in-line with company policies and procedures."

In terms of editing and day to day work, there is a lot of hands on editing, rather than writing and content creation. When they describe their ideal candidate, and they say:

"This expert wordsmith acts as a guardian for the brand tone of voice, sub-editing daily through large quantities of product copy."

And

"Editing will be second nature to this individual – an ability to sift through all levels of copy and perfecting it to tight deadlines. A stickler for detail, a quick-thinker, problem-solver and a perfectionist, the Deputy Editor will be confident in presenting ideas and concepts to senior stakeholders, while maintaining an efficient and effective product copywriting team; able to product the best online retail offering through content."

There are also plenty of elements of content strategy in here, such as tone of voice and brand standards. They need somebody who has a

"proven track record of maintaining and developing a website or publication's identity through tone of voice and excellent standards of content."

And who can help in:

"assisting the Content Editor to develop and evolve the brand tone of voice and brand standards online."

Here is a link to the full job description for Selfridges

Newcastle University

Content Editor

Like the Selfridges role, the description sets this up to be a demanding but rewarding career path. And, as we've said, this seems to be a Senior content role which has a lot of content strategy elements, and also web design. With a focus on supporting business goals and meeting user needs through content.

This is for the role of Digital Content Editor, and it kicks off with:

"As a Digital Content Editor, you will plan, create, and edit effective and optimised digital content to support strategic objectives and user requirements.

The role entails working across digital content design, as part of the Web Design Team within the Marketing Department to deliver user focused web design and content.

A large part of the role is working with and engaging stakeholders, communication and building relationships. The candidate needs to:

"Be able to identify and manage and work with internal and external stakeholders, building relationships whilst meeting user needs"

And

"Use clear, concise and accurate communication, tailoring their approach accordingly and encouraging a two-way communication process."

Similar to the Selfridges role, there is a focus on content strategy elements such as developing and meeting content guidelines and standards, tone of voice and managing workflow.

"You will also provide support for web projects, managing content workflow and maintaining content guidelines and standards, and work to integrate best practice throughout the web design process."

In this one, there is a heavier focus on things like content strategy and content design. This role overlaps with content design, with applicants needing to be able to "effectively communicate our brand standards through content design" and also need to be able to show that they can write micro-content, such as writing for mobile.

User centered content design principles, including web usability, accessibility, readability, writing for the web, web content creation and user experience design are talked about as well.

Candidates need "demonstrable knowledge and experience" of these things. Candidates also need to be able to apply technical knowledge such as:

  • Use content measurement frameworks to evaluate outputs, continuously assessing working methods and processes and implement recommendations for improvement
  • Test and approve content as part of quality assurance and workflow processes
  • Provide support for website usability research such as user testing data write up and analysis, survey analysis and interpretation of web statistics
  • Use research and analytics findings to inform content improvements for the University website and to monitor the effectiveness of the website

They also have as 'desirable experience' other elements of content design such as:

"Creating effective information architecture for user journeys and wireframes for content design, including using software and websites (ie Invision, Marvel, etc.)"

Here is a link to the full job description for Newcastle University

Next steps: Writing your job description

Hopefully this article has given you an idea of some of the similarities and differences between the two Content Editor job descriptions, and some inspiration for writing one of your own. If you need help with this, download our free template:

Free template download

Use this Content Editor Job Description Template as a base, or to inspire your own. It's comprehensive and includes example excerpts discussed in this article.

Job template screenshot
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